Author Topic: Coaster Brakes & Rim Hydraulic Brakes / Turn Your Bike into a Leaning Tricycle  (Read 2365 times)

Andre Jute

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Heh-heh. I was looking into the Gold Wing with the idea of turning it into a leaning three-wheeler, just for the hell of it, and because it would be easier to prototype what I had in mind on a powered frame than on my bike, which would follow; meanwhile I wouldn't be wrecking the irreplaceable historic paintwork on my bike with elimination experiments. But there's no point when Honda will have a production model next year, and the Niken is already available, and several pretty powerful three-wheel tilting scooters too, none of which I knew when out of the blue the idea of turning my bike into a tilting three-wheeler came to me. Anyway, the last time I had a big bike, the biggest Laverda, was in the 1960's, and in Ireland there's an onerous graduated process of getting a motorcycle license, which people over seventy probably (I haven't looked into it in detail) need to go though again every year. Duh, that's too much trouble. The solution, to make the front track wide and use the thing with a car driver's licence, makes tilting wheels irrelevant, as their main purpose is stability, which a wide track automatically provides. Anyway, taking a tape measure to some of my favourite rides in the lanes soon demonstrated that two wheels in tandem is the optimum bike configuration for me, and that the girth of the Gold Wing, even with only two wheels, would be more of a menace than a pleasure (the rear wheel would be constantly on wet grass or, more likely, sliding off it unpredictably onto high-friction tarmac -- ouch). Your experience is another data point on a right decision. And some fascinating bike research has come up, inter alia in the links Dan and Jim posted.


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  • reisen statt rasen

I realize you're now off the idea of a three-wheel conversion and I grok the reasons why. However, I finally re-found some relevant links to a conversion product so I'll include them here before they again sink into the obscurity of my larger links collection:



The Turkish caption translates roughly to...
Hello new beauty handmade 3-wheeled custom... With 47 staff, the front luggage part of the bike can be removed and the bike can be made with 2 wheels... Another beauty of our bike is that the front wheels can be used inclined at a certain angle 'when driving' or 'in turns'. This provides an extra driving pleasure. You can also use the front luggage part as a market car if you like... Shipped all over Turkey, let our pedals be plentiful.
This appears to be a simpler, Turkish homebuilt version of the Trego setup I linked to earlier in this thread. Tantalizing in its apparent simplicity, the track is remarkably narrow and looks as if it could be made narrower yet. As it is, the overall width looks no wider than your rack-mounted baskets, though they of course skim above the ground rather than run on it, so even this narrow track might be impractical on your roads. It is nice how it simply replaces the front wheel and attaches to the fork's dropouts and canti brake mounts, leaving the bike ready to convert back to its original form. I don't see front brakes, but some front discs or perhaps drum-brake hubs would address that shortcoming nicely. I have no connection to the product.

Of tangential interest might be this attempt to DIY a leaning cargo trike:
Seen this one?:
Otherlab ( ) has a tilting "inflatable car":
Have you seen the Harley-Davidson TRiO conversions?:

Three-wheelers do have a problem handling irregular road surfaces; unlike a bicycle's single track, a tricycle has three. Back in 1982, I tried the Vector HPV intended for record attempts and found it fairly miserable to ride in the real world not because of its focus but because it was almost impossible to avoid potholes -- what one or two wheels missed the other(s) fell into: My Dutch friend reports the same shortcoming with his three-wheeled Quest Velomobile when used on rough roads.



Andre Jute

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Dan. that's a super lot of links. Maybe I'm just slow in my sunset years, but that spring between the two top tubes seems to me to be merely decorative. It can't have much, or indeed any, bracing function.

The best of the lot is still the Trego you linked earlier in this thread; I really like its multi-functionality. What I don't like is non-standard 16" wheels when 20" are so easily available. But it seems to be thoroughly designed and engineered by someone who has done his homework. The suspension geometry is not perfect, and the two cross-body tubes have had to be made pretty heavy because they're so close together, and not triangulated at all, but that is probably a compromise for luggage capacity.

Your remark about my pannier baskets is apt: The idea of a tilting tricycle is to make it no wider than the handlebars. Also I liked your remark about designing a trailer so that two wheels follow each other. If applied to a tadpole tilting tricycle, that would solve the dangerous problem of the grassy middleman on many of my favourite lanes. Of course, it would complicate the design to an extent I haven't had time to consider beyond the obvious that the rider would when leaning out of the two-wheel track side be lending a considerable part of his weight to an overturning lever.

I didn't start down this road because of my balance. My balance is in fact better on the bike than on my feet, and my reflexes are still those of my twenties. I merely had an urge to buy a Gold Wing, and thought I'd turn in into a tilting three-wheeler merely for interest (which idea evaporated when I discovered that Honda will be marketing a tilting tadpole Neo Wing next year -- and anyway the Tilting Motor Works already have well-developed kit as on the Harley you reference, cutting into the opportunities to license a new design) and perhaps then on my bicycle. The idea was that a powered proto would be easier to develop than a bike proto. When I was younger, I would have ordered the Gold Wing the next day, but it is just as well I plan better these days, because I also discovered that I would have to go through a very time-consuming process even to get a big-bike license, and at my age have to renew it at inconvenient intervals. If you make a tadpole wide enough to drive on a car license, you also lose the need for a tilter, and whatever you do on such a wide vehicle isn't transferable to a bicycle used in the lanes, so self-defeating of me. The bicycle is very important to my life, in the most literal sense of exercise and fresh air contributing beside the chemicals to keeping me alive. There the project died as a practical prospect for lack of application to my lifestyle, so to speak, though of course I still have an intellectual interest. The truth is that any time I give to motorised pursuits will probably cut into cycling possibilities -- and I know which do me the most good!